News & Analysis

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    What last night’s “The Newsroom” gets wrong about “disruption” in media

    Few television shows in history have elicited the strange combination of hatred and obsession that HBO’s “The Newsroom” has. Viewers, particularly those who live and work in the media world that Aaron Sorkin’s fantastical weekly drama vaguely resembles, are simultaneously enamored and repulsed by the show’s loud, overwrought ruminations on news, politics, technology, and workplace relationships. Maybe that’s because 21st century journalists love nothing more than thinking about themselves, and like Narcissus, are unable to look away from the mirror Sorkin holds up…
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  3. Life on Bitcoin

    First family of Bitcoin: Adam Draper’s Boost VC accelerator goes “Full Bitcoin”

    Boost VC, the San Mateo startup accelerator co-founded by Adam Draper, is doubling down on its bitcoin emphasis by exclusively accepting bitcoin-related companies for its upcoming class, “Tribe 5.” Or, as Draper puts it in a recent blog post, “Boost is going full bitcoin.” Draper cites hyperfocus, playing to strengths, and love for the bitcoin community as the three reasons for this decision. The upcoming class will include 20 to 30 companies tackling payments, exchanges, block…
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    The UK plans to reveal a watered-down “Snooper’s Charter” to collect citizens’ IP addresses

    A new bill expected to be revealed on Wednesday would require Internet service providers in the United Kingdom to keep records of their customers’ IP addresses which would be handed over to police to combat terrorism, online bullying, suicidal thoughts, and other emergencies. The decision to introduce a bill specifically tailored towards the collection of this information is thought to be a sign that the government has given up on its so-called Snooper’s Charter, which would have allowed it to…
  5. elsewhere

    Google reportedly settles online abuse case

    Google has reportedly settled an online abuse case in which a Morgan Stanley banker sued for the company to remove articles on 4,000 websites describing him as a pedophile, a Ku Klux Klan sympathizer, and a murderer. The company confirmed to the Guardian that the parties had reached a “mutually acceptable agreement.” [Source: The Guardian]
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  7. elsewhere

    Samsung’s Galaxy S5 sales disappoint

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung’s Galaxy S5, the latest iteration of the company’s flagship smartphone, has sold much worse than the company expected. It’s thought to have sold 4 million units less than the Galaxy S4 sold in the year-ago quarter; 40 percent fewer than Samsung predicted. [Source: The Wall Street Journal]
  8. wifi-security

    Symantec discovers sophisticated malware likely made by a Western intelligence agency

    Researchers at Symantec have discovered malware that has been used to spy on individuals, telecoms, and businesses since 2008. It’s thought to be the prime surveillance tool of a nation-state because of the sheer amount of time it would’ve taken to create such complex malware. The malware is said to have been found in ten countries across the Middle East, North America, Russia, and Europe. The main targets are said to be Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the malware has also been…
  9. pando-breaking-news-small

    Yik Yak raises $62M

    Yik Yak, a location-based messaging platform popular on college campuses, has raised $62 million in funding just a year after its founding. Sequoia Capital is said to have led the round, which valued the company in the “low hundred millions of dollars,” according to the Wall Street Journal. [Source: The Wall Street Journal]
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  11. Senate Holds Hearing On Comcast/ NBC Universal Merger

    Careful what you wish against: Silicon Valley just rolled out a red carpet to government regulation

    It may seem from the outside as if Silicon Valley repeats the same boom and bust cycle over and over again. In fact, at peak performance, the Valley is like a self-healing organism that assiduously learns from its mistakes. During the most recent cycle, following the great dot-com collapse of 2000, the Valley almost corrected itself out of a repeat disaster. This time around, the consumer Web boom almost had it all. Almost. But Silicon Valley greed and ego just couldn’t help itself. And…
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    The guy who accused Sarah Lacy of “playing victim” over Uber forgot to disclose he’s “bros” with the company’s two most senior execs

    Ordinarily, guns don’t make me feel relaxed. This past Wednesday, however, as I waited in a glass-walled conference room for Sarah Lacy to finish an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang about Uber’s plan to smear her and other journalists, I took comfort knowing that the man hired to protect Sarah – an off-duty agent for a federal agency I won’t name — was armed to the ears. As a fan of movies like In The Line of Fire, and TV…
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  14. uber

    NY Times op-ed calls for leadership changes at Uber

    “Companies that never grow up tend to go the way of Groupon or MySpace, two now-faded comets. As good as Uber’s app is, there are limits to how much bad publicity it can absorb before it hurts the bottom line. At Uber, the inmates are running the asylum. That needs to change, while there’s still time.” – NY Times
  15. uber-bullshit

    Uber’s smear machine thinks you’re a total idiot

    Uber’s attempt to silence and smear journalists reporting on its business practices has moved into its next phase. Let’s call this one “Operation Nothing To See Here.” If you recall, earlier this week Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith reported that a senior Uber executive, Emil Michael, had boasted of a $1m plan to do “oppo” research on journalists who criticized the company. In particular, Buzzfeed named Pando’s Sarah Lacy as the main target of the plan: Over dinner, he outlined the notion of…
  16. Startup politics

    What Medium’s big play for politicians says about the platform’s future

    With the latest midterm elections at a close, politicians and analysts have now set their ramblings and pontificating on the 2016 Presidential race. With adoption on online networks even greater today than ever before, another parallel race appears to be taking shape: The fight between digital platforms to become the go-to destination whenever a politician or political operative has something to share with voters. To this end, Medium has announced a new job listing: The role of Partner Development, Politics, Government,…
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    “A productive member of society”: Talking immigration with Jose Antonio Vargas

    It’s been quite the week here at Pando, but at times like this it’s good to have one’s own problems put in perspective. So it was on Tuesday night when Sarah Lacy and I went to a screening room in San Francisco to watch Jose Antonio Vargas’ remarkable documentary, Documented. The film was originally released in 2013 but is now being considered as a possible Oscar contender. And the timing of the screening was appropriate for a second reason: A few hours…
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    ‘weev’ in Beirut: I can’t go home until “most of the agents of the federal government are dead.”

    “The only hope I have of returning to the land I love, where I was kidnapped at gunpoint and had my house bulldozed, is if there is a such a consistent level of change that most of the agents of the federal government are dead. I want to go home but I can’t.” It’s late on a Tuesday evening and I’m sitting with Andrew Auernheimer in the posh environs of east Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood. The man most people know by…
  20. Surf Air sunset

    Maturing Surf Air adds new planes, new routes, and fresh appeal to its membership-based airline

    Surf Air is growing up and it’s got some new toys to reflect that maturity. The first in the company’s arsenal of shiny new objects is a brand new Pilatus PC-12NG Aircraft. The second is a new route to sunny San Diego. In both cases, the company has more of the same on the way in the coming months. After announcing its all-you-can-fly, membership-driven airline concept in early 2012 and then flying its maiden public flight in summer…
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The Week in Review

Saturday